Give your page wings: the WordPress Side Content Plugin

Technology Blog

I wrote this plugin to provide similar functionality to the Drupal Side Content module. It makes it easy to have unique sidebar content on any page. Yes, it gives your page wings – or its own widgets, anyway.

If you see any PHP errors on activating the plugin then the most likely cause is that you are using PHP 4. This plugin requires PHP 5.

Example of use: In the side bar for this article you can see an example widget the content of which was created using this plugin.

Download the plugin.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Install and activate the plugin in the normal way.
  2. On the settings page for Side Content, enter the names for your widgets, one per line. (These will also be the names of your custom fields). Save your changes.
  3. On the Design->Widgets page, you’ll now see your widgets listed and you’ll be able to position them as you like in your sidebar(s).
  4. Edit a page (or post) for which you want one or more sidebar content widgets. The widget entry areas will be found in a sub panel headed “Side Content Widgets”. In each area enter the HTML (including any heading) you wish to appear. The widget content will be saved along with the rest of the page or post.
  5. Tip: use the HTML editor for the page to create content for a field, then (in HTML mode) cut and paste it into the custom field value area.
  6. Note: it now works with both pages and blog posts.
  7. Note: as of release 0.7 the plugin includes support for the new WordPress shortcode API.
  8. Note: as of release 0.6 the plugin is compatible with WordPress-MU.
  9. Note: as of release 0.5 it has its own subpanel on the edit page.

Although the plugin does not require any theme changes to be made, it does provide a useful API function that can be used in templates to adjust page layout if required. To call it, code as follows:

if(function_exists('the_side_content')) {
if(the_side_content()->has_widgets()) {
// template adjustments for side content widgets
// alternatively, you can test for a particular widget by name
if(the_side_content()->has_widgets('mywidget')) {
// template adjustments for side content widget 'mywidget'

Note that this plugin requires PHP5. Compatible with WP 2.5 through 2.8.1.

Download the plugin.

124 Responses to “Give your page wings: the WordPress Side Content Plugin”

  1. FendyBt2

    This is the one that I’ve been looking for… Thanks!
    But it can’t exec PHP code 🙁
    It would be nice if you could make it so that it could exec PHP code like the ExecPHP plugins… 😉
    Anyway… great plugins!

  2. Gosia

    This plugin is great. Thank you.
    If it was possible to run PHP it would make it perfect.
    Thank a lot

  3. darya

    This is almost exactly what I want, but I want different content for category pages, not individual posts and pages. Is there a way for this to work for me?

  4. Pete Hawkins

    Is there any reason why this widget would not allow a libghtbox effect to work? I’ve placed different next-gen galleries in different pages and the effect isn’t working…. can let you have the url (privately) if you wish as it’s in a testing environment and not fully operational yet. Cheers

  5. Jarvis88


    The plugin looks very useful!! thanx!! Just one question, it cant remove the sidebar completely from certain pages can it??

    If not, do you know what I could use for this?


  6. Casey

    I’m excited to get this plugin to work. I think it is exactly what I am looking for. However I am new to WordPress and can’t seem to figure out how to get it to work.

    I have activated the plug-in. It appears on my “available widgets” list but for some reason the name of the widget is blank and only the description “Side content widget:” appears. Is that normal?

    I added the custom field at the bottom of my page, but I am confused as to what the “value” is supposed to be. Also, can I designate which side the content appears on? Thanks for helping out a “newbie”

  7. Rob

    Hi Alfred,

    great plugin. Ive emailed you a few times about it and thanks for the support. Just a question to get your thoughts as I have a need for a new site and want to use your plugin. The issue is I have a sidebar using your plugin being shared on 3 pages of the site. If the sidebar content is updated, it must be updated on all 3 pages, something I want the site owner to avoid doing. can you see anyway so that if the sidebar content on one page was updated it would automatically be updated on all 3 pages? Can you see anyway to get this work?



  8. Michael

    hi alfred,

    i guess i have php 4, b/c i received the fatal error when activating plug message. i guess my question is, how to do i update to php5? and will this mess up my other sites?



  9. Aaron

    Hi, I just downloaded and installed your plugin but it does not seem to be working correctly on WP 2.8. On the Edit Post page, the widget textboxes are there, but there’s nothing in the right column next to them– I didn’t even know there was supposed to be anything there until I saw your 7/31/08 comment above. Any idea how to get this to work, or do you plan to update it to work with 2.8?

  10. Jeremy

    Does Side Content work with Word Press 2.7 or 2.8. I have tried the plugin in both versions but everytime I add the custom field and save the post the custom field disappears. Any other custom field I enter works and saves with no problem.

  11. Viidar

    Great plugin, but do you plan to upgrade it for WP 2.8?
    THAT would just be peachy! 🙂

  12. Stephen Heck

    I am trying to use this, and it works. Except when I try to add more names for widgets they don’t show up. Only the first one does.

  13. levent

    How can I remove the rest of widgets from the side bar and keep only side content for that specific page?

  14. Alfred Armstrong

    Re: Stephen Heck’s query. There was an incompatibility introduced with WP 2.8, now fixed in release 0.9.

    Re: levent’s query. It may be worth looking into the Widget Logic plugin.

  15. Ben Zimmer

    Great – exactly what I was looking for.

    One problem: I am also using the Quizzen plugin to create quizzes.
    Quiz content does not seem to embed into the side content.



  16. Rob

    Hi Alfred,

    great plugin, as Ive said before 🙂 One issue that Im having. I am using the plugin on WP 2.6 on all pages of my site with no issues. I then added it to index.php – the blog page.

    I can see in view source that my sidebar div is loading:

    But no content appears that has been input on the index page. Yet all other pages no probs. Any ideas why it wont work on index.php but on all other pages?

    Ive tried 0.8 and just upgraded to 0.9 but the same issue.



  17. lnv

    Hi Alfred, I am having the same problem with others here. I was able to successfully add a different sidebar widget to 2 different pages. Trying to make it work on a third page however is not working. When I hit “Add custom field” the form flashes, but then it doesn’t appear in the drop-down select nor on the page itself. Any suggestions on this? Thanks and much appreciated.

  18. Alfred Armstrong

    Lawrence, the plugin now has its own panel at the bottom of the page edit page. You should not need to use custom fields directly.

  19. justin007

    I Alfred, great widget. Quick question : How can I block all the content plugin to show up on a certain page? I don’t need different widget, I just need to block content on a specific page. Thanks!

  20. John Shaw

    Hi Alfred

    Great plugin – and it’s working great on my pages. All except the page my bog posts sit on. It’s not giving any errors, the two panels just don’t appear.

    I’m using WP 2.8.4


  21. Alfred Armstrong

    Bill, not directly, but you can always use the following trick:

    * open a second edit window as if you were creating a new post
    * use the wysiwyg editor there to create the code you want
    * switch to HTML mode
    * select and copy the HTML
    * paste the HTML into the widget area on the original edit window

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